President Barack Obama presented the Medal of Honor to two Oklahoma soldiers for their heroism in Vietnam on this day in 2014.
The president gave the nation’s highest military honor posthumously to U.S. Army Spc. 4 Donald P. Sloat and to retired Command Sgt. Maj. Bennie G. Adkins.
Sloat, of Coweta, was 20 when he smothered a grenade in 1970 to protect members of his unit. Adkins, who was drafted out of Waurika, was on his second tour of duty in Vietnam in 1966 when he suffered 18 different wounds to his body.
“Over the decades, our Vietnam veterans didn’t always receive the thanks and respect they deserved. That’s a fact," President Obama said. But as we have been reminded again today, our Vietnam vets were patriots and are patriots. You served with valor. You made us proud. And your service is with us for eternity. So no matter how long it takes, no matter how many years go by, we will continue to express our gratitude for your extraordinary service.”
Adkins died of COVID-19 on April 17, 2020, at the age of 86.